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Guernsey, the UK and the EU

Guernsey and the UK

Guernsey is not represented in the UK Parliament, which does not legislate on behalf of Guernsey without first obtaining the consent of Guernsey's administration. The extension to Guernsey of an Act of Parliament by Order in Council is occasionally requested, but the usual practice is for the States of Deliberation, which is legislatively independent from the United Kingdom with full competence to legislate for the Island's insular affairs, to enact its own legislation.

The United Kingdom is responsible for Guernsey's international affairs and defence.  In recent years, Guernsey has increasingly acted internationally on its own behalf, particularly in relation to matters for which it has complete autonomy.  The UK Government has recognised the appropriateness of Guernsey further developing its international identity and Guernsey has direct engagement with UK Government departments across Whitehall, as well as with international governments and supranational bodies - especially in relation to areas such as financial services.

Guernsey and the European Union

Guernsey is neither a separate Member State nor an Associate Member of the European Union. The terms relating exclusively to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man were subsequently embodied in Protocol No. 3 of the Treaty of Accession of the United Kingdom to the EEC, signed on 22 January 1972.

Protocol No. 3 of the Treaty of Accession of the United Kingdom

Protocol No. 3 placed the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man within the Common Customs territory of the Community and the Common External Tariff of the European Economic Community.  Broadly speaking this means that no customs duties are applied to goods exported to members of the customs union but a common customs tariff applies to goods imported into the customs union from non-member countries.

Protocol 3 also provides that Guernsey is "within" the EU for most of the purposes of the free movement of goods (e.g. so that Articles 28, 30, 34-36 and 110 of what is now the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union apply) but outside the EU for other purposes, in particular non-customs related fiscal matters and the free movement of persons and services. The Island is not eligible for assistance from the Union's structural funds or under the support measures for agricultural markets.

Under Protocol 3 the authorities in the Crown Dependencies have to treat natural and legal persons of the European Union equally and therefore in a non discriminatory manner.

Although Channel Islands are British citizens and hence European citizens, they are not entitled to take advantage of the freedom of movement of people or services unless they are directly connected (through birth, descent from a parent or grandparent, or five years' continuous residence with the United Kingdom).

Application of EU Law

Some EU Regulations are directly applicable in the EU Member States insofar as they are binding on the Bailiwick under Protocol 3. In this regard they have immediate legal effect and form part of Bailiwick law without the need to enact local legislation (see further the European Communities, (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 1973) as amended.

EU Directives on the other hand, are binding on Member States as to the result to be achieved but it is for national authorities to decide the form and methods of implementing them. Insofar as they may be applicable under Protocol 3, they can be implemented by Ordinance under the European Communities (Implementation) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1994, as amended. Under this law, the States of Deliberation has the power to implement "any provision" of EU law, whether or not it falls within Protocol 3. This means that other provisions of EU law which might, for example, be thought of interest to the Bailiwick may be brought into force under this legislation even if there is no obligation to do so under the terms of Protocol 3.

It is for the States of Guernsey to consider the extent to which they wish to take on board any intergovernmental measures; no obligation arises under Protocol 3. It decide whether, and to what extent, it wishes to be included in any such measures and the United Kingdom has undertaken that the Crown Dependencies will be fully consulted about any such measures which may affect them. No such measure will be applied to any of the islands without the consent of the authorities for the island in question.

The Channel Islands position in relation to Protocol 3 remains as originally set out and is unaffected by the Lisbon Treaty.

European Economic Area (EEA)

Ratification of the EEA Agreement by the United Kingdom had the effect of extending the Agreement to the Crown Dependencies from 1 January 1995, by virtue of the Community Treaties enshrined in the UK Treaty of Accession.  However, the EEA Agreement applies to the Crown Dependencies only to the extent that is consistent with Protocol 3. 

Channel Islands' Brussels Office

In 2011, Guernsey and Jersey set up a Channel Islands Brussels Office which aims to strengthen the Islands' voice in Brussels, while advising the respective governments on European and international matters.

Constitutional Advisory Panel (CAP)

In September 2007 the ERG established the Constitutional Advisory Panel under the Chairmanship of the then HM Procureur. The Panel's mandate included provision to review all aspects of the constitutional relationships between Guernsey and the United Kingdom, including the range of possible relationships from full independence to integration with the United Kingdom. The CAP's first interim report was published in October 2009 by the Policy Council, which is available to download below. The panel concluded that Guernsey‟s present constitutional position was as a "dependency of the Crown" that has an increasing rôle on the international stage.  The CAP recognised the risk for Guernsey in establishing itself as a separate state outweighed the benefits that might be gained from assuming functions currently performed on its behalf by the UK.  The CAP was disestablished in January 2010.

External Relations Team

External Relations Team,  Sir Charles Frossard House,  La Charroterie,  St Peter Port,  Guernsey,  GY1 1FH,  Channel Islands
Tel: 44 1481 717000 Email: erg@gov.gg

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